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Hamilton Receives Money From Robert Troup, His Old Columbia College Roommate, Who Was Then Helping Hamilton Publish the Federalist Papers
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Currently offered as part of the Alexander Hamilton Collection: The Story of the Revolution & Founding.

ALEXANDER HAMILTON. Autograph Document Signed, a receipt of £89 from Robert Troup, January 2, 1788. 1 p., 2⅜ x 7½ in.

Inventory #24838       SOLD — please inquire about other items

Complete Transcript

Received of Robert Troupe Esquire Eighty nine pounds on account of a purchase upon a Sheriffs sale

January 2d, 1788                           A Hamilton

[Docketed on verso in another hand:] Mr. Hamilton’s Receipt. Jan 2, 1788

Historical Background

In addition to practicing law, Troup was a land agent in New York. This receipt could pertain to a joint land investment.

In any case, while this was happening, Troup played a role in the publication of the Federalist Papers, which J. & A. McLean had just announced they would publish in book form; to protect Hamilton’s anonymity, he sent the essays to newspapers through Troup. Federalist no. 31, on the subject of taxation, first appeared in the New York Packet the day before this letter was written, with other New York papers publishing it on this day.

Alexander Hamilton (1757-1804) was born on the island of Nevis and, in 1772, came to New York City, where he enrolled in King’s College (Columbia University) in 1773. When the British occupied the city in 1776, King’s College closed, ending Hamilton’s collegiate career. Hamilton became General George Washington’s aide-de-camp in 1777. After the war, Hamilton studied law and became one of the most eminent lawyers in New York. In 1782, he was elected to the Continental Congress, where he served until October 1783. In 1784, he founded the Bank of New York, which became one of the longest operating banks in American history. In 1786, Hamilton took the leading part at the Annapolis convention, which prepared the way for the great Constitutional Convention that met at Philadelphia in 1787, to which Hamilton was a New York delegate. In the same year, he conceived the series of essays afterward collected as The Federalist in support of the new Constitution, and wrote 51 of the 85 essays himself. Upon the establishment of the new government in 1789, President Washington appointed Hamilton as Secretary of the Treasury, and he restored the country’s finances to a firm footing. In early 1795, Hamilton resigned his office but remained the leader of the Federalist Party until his death in a duel with Vice President Aaron Burr.

Robert Troup (1756-1832) was born in New Jersey and was Hamilton’s undergraduate roommate at King’s College (now Columbia University), where he studied law under John Jay. During the Revolutionary War, Troup served as an aid to General Gates and is depicted in Trumbull’s famous painting of the Surrender at Saratoga. Troup and Hamilton remained close throughout their lives—when Hamilton became Secretary of the Treasury in September of 1789, he turned over all of his still-pending litigation to Troup, and the two were founding members of the abolitionist New York Manumission Society. Troup served as Clerk of Court for the federal district court in New York from 1789 to 1796, when President George Washington appointed him as judge of that court. From 1801 to 1832, Troup was a land agent for the Pulteney Estate of England for its properties in western New York.